Dialogue on Race

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The Dialogue on Race was a project sponsored by the city of Charlottesville that is designed to help improve race relations in the community. One of the outcomes was a proposal to create a Charlottesville Commission on Human Rights to investigate claims of discrimination. [1]


After the initial phase of discussions, four workgroups were created to come up with action steps. One of the possibilities is to find ways to boost tourism in the area by drawing attention to how the city's black community helped overcome discrimination in the public school system. One possibility could also be to develop mobile phone applications to help tell the story of individual buildings.[2]

Education Work Group

The education work group is studying how to develop a comprehensive education model for the city, ways to increase diversity education for school employees, and closing the achievement gap.[3]

Government Work Group

This group is looking at ways of making it easier for felons to reenter society and the workforce, and is also studying diversity policies among Charlottesville local government departments.[3]

Economics Work Group

This group is looking at ways of increasing job opportunities for Charlottesville residents, whether micro-loans could work to provide capital for small businesses, how to implement a living wage and studying the effects of pay-day lending.[3]

Social/Cultural Work Group

This group is studying how to commemorate local history through public art, and planning for ways to incorporate faith communities into the conversation.[3]


  • September 2008: City Council Establishes Race Relations as a Priority for the Year
  • January 2009: Formal Presentation to City Council
  • May 4 2009: Steering Committee Formed
  • August 2009: Facilitation Training Team Awarded
  • August 27, 2009: Organizing meeting, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church

September 24, 2009 Organizing meeting, South First Street Community Center

  • December 5th, 2009: Kick-Off Event, Dr. Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center
  • Week of January 25th and February 1st, 2010: Study Circles Begin
  • March 2010: Study Circles Complete Assignment
  • May 15, 2010: Dialogue on Race Steering Committee holds Action Forum - King Performing Arts Center[4]

Previous attempts

This process was nothing new. A similar committee had been commissioned by Council in the mid-seventies and presented a report on January 18, 1978. [5]


  1. Web. NAACP hears about race commission proposal, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, retrieved January 12, 2012.
  2. Web. Dialogue on Race advances: big ideas, phone apps, Chiara Canzi, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, September 14, 2010, retrieved September 14, 2010. Print. September 14, 2010 .
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Web. Charlottesville : Work Groups, retrieved September 14, 2010.
  4. Web. Charlottesville : Dialogue Timeline, City of Charlottesville, retrieved September 14, 2010.
  5. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 18, 1978.

External links

Official site